Senior Executives Association

The December 13th 2018 Senior Executives Association Presidential Rank Awards Leadership Summit was a day full celebration, thought leadership, networking and professional development education.   More than 500 senior leaders from government, the private sector and academia were on hand to recognize the 131 Presidential Rank Awards and have peer-to-peer discussions.   In addition, distinguished keynote speakers – Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette; Margaret Weichert, Acting Director of OPM and Deputy Director for Management at OMB; and Joseph Heck, Chairman of the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service – discussed their leadership philosophies and recognized the enormous accomplishments of the PRA honorees.

Bill Valdez

Breathing New Life into the Presidential Rank Awards

One of the more unfortunate ripple effects from the 2007 recession was its impact on the Presidential Rank Awards (PRAs).

The Obama Administration determined early in 2009 that the “optics” of career SES receiving large bonuses would not sit well with taxpayers during a time when many Americans were losing their homes or declaring bankruptcy, so the Administration actually cancelled one PRA cycle (2013), significantly limited the number of PRAs that agencies could award, and prohibited agencies from publicizing its winners.

It was left to SEA to hold its annual PRA Awards Banquet at the Department of State and to publicize the significant accomplishments of PRA honorees. In 2016, even this meager acknowledgement of the PRA honorees was snuffed out and 2016 PRA awards were acknowledged only in passing at a December 2016 White House event that focused more on Obama Administration customer service accomplishments.

SEA believes that these policies dishonored PRA winners in specific, and the accomplishments of career SES in general, and has been working with the Trump Administration to rectify the situation. SEA is doing the following:

• We are working with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to do a full review of the PRA process and suggest improvements and greater efficiencies. SEA formed a PRA Working Group that is currently conducting a government-wide survey of PRA practices and will report our recommendations at the December 7th Presidential Rank Awards Leadership Summit.

• SEA, in cooperation with Deloitte and Management Concepts, is doing an analysis of the 2016/17 PRA winners to determine how the leadership qualities of PRA winners contributed to their overall success. These findings will also be announced at the December 7th PRA Summit and will help SEA develop a leadership model that can be replicated throughout the government.

• SEA will be doing a longitudinal analysis of PRA winners to determine the impact their contributions have made to government efficiency, cost savings, programmatic transformation, and mission accomplishment. This long overdue study will make it clear that PRA winners are just the tip of the spear when it comes to the impact that career senior leaders make on behalf of the American taxpayer.

• SEA will be featuring the accomplishments of 2016/2017 PRA winners at the December 7th Summit through panel presentations that focus on their contributions to thought leadership, transforming government business processes and practices, and delivering on mission accomplishments.

The December 7th PRA Leadership Summit will be held at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Registration is free for SEA members and participants ( I highly encourage you to register and participate at the Summit to demonstrate your support for the PRA winners and to work with SEA to ensure that the accomplishments of career SES are honored and appreciated.

Tags: Message from Your SEA President

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Special thanks to SEA's Corporate Advisory Council, helping to support a federal career executive corps of excellence.
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